I am an observer. One of my favorite observation posts is my kitchen window. I have bird feeders placed in my yard so I can observe the varieties of birds that come to feed. I’m not the only one who loves to watch.
Recently, my husband (an observer too) told me about a neighborhood cat that had found its own perfect spot to view our birds. He pointed to the tall maiden hair grasses just beyond the feeding pole. I could not see the yellow cat that he swore was hiding there.
A couple of days later, though, I watched as a pale blonde cat strolled across our neighbor’s yard and slid under the gate of our chain-link fence. He wandered up slowly and nestled into the tall grass. If I had not seen him go in, I would never have known he was there. He blended perfectly with the pale color of the winter grass. I watched him carefully from my window as he sat oh so still in wait. The birds were not coming to the feeders, but soon a young squirrel wandered across the overhead wires to our red bud tree. He scampered down to the ground and hurried over to the pole of feeders. The cat in the grass sat very still. The squirrel turned his back to the grasses and the hidden cat very slowly began to rise. His head and eyes were perfectly fixed on the squirrel. The squirrel appeared oblivious to everything around him as he busily devoured the sunflower seeds from the lawn beneath the feeders.
I was worried that the squirrel would be injured if the cat ponced, but my husband (who had also come to watch) assured me that the squirrel knew the cat was there and that the cat wasn’t really serious about catching the squirrel anyway. I wasn’t completely convinced, but I hesitated to intervene.
The pale blonde cat continued to move upward and slowly, very slowly he rose up. Then he leaped forward! The squirrel moved effortlessly away. The cat, now exposed, sat on the green grass beneath the feeders. He looked around as if to see that no one had witnessed his poorly executed plunge, then slowly stood up and wandered back to make his escape beneath the chain-link gate.
I saw him come again the next day and this time I was ready with my new camera in hand. I wandered out the back door thinking he would surely run as soon I as walked outside. Yet, he stayed very still and did not move from his hiding place. I walked closer. He did not budge. I continued to walk toward him but at an angle as though I was on my way somewhere else. I could see his eyes following me, but the only movement was a slight tilt of his ears. It was then that I truly marveled at this cat. He was not just a cat hiding in tall grass. A cat of any color could do that. No, this cat seemed totally aware that he had the right colors to blend in, becoming invisible within the blond strands of grass. He stood his ground, watching but confident that I had not seen him. I readied my camera, surprised I had not already scared him away. (It was a new camera with all that technical stuff so I wasn’t very skilled yet in its use.) I pushed the shutter button.
The camera flashed and the cat bolted from the grass. I hurriedly pressed the button once more, but the cat had moved quickly this time. The second picture captured his tail as he hurried back through the neighbor’s yard.
Yesterday my husband and I cut down the grass. It is time for new grass to grow. I wonder if the blonde cat will come back when the grass is green and if he’ll know he’s less invisible in that green color scheme.
- You: The secret of happiness (guardian.co.uk)
- Nature Observation (ucdinterdisciplinary.wordpress.com)
- Everybody Loves the Bird Feeders (goingbackwards.wordpress.com)